Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The Ed talks about the bouncing Popsiders
Anyone who frequents TUFC games knows that noise and atmosphere at Plainmoor has always been generated by the Popside, with the standing area making for a naturally livelier group and friends being able to mingle freely (unless it’s on those naughty yellow areas!). The Pop is the beating heart of our ground and can help make or break Torquay United performances and sometimes even Torquay United careers.
The noise has understandably yoyoed alongside the team’s performances over the years. When we’ve been good (Leroy, Buckle, GJ eras) the Pop would fill up quickly before kick off and drive the lads on with glee, but when we’ve been bad (other eras!) the gaps at either end could tell a story, so could the audible murmurs of frustration at the players incompetence. Meanwhile, the travelling yellow army have very often shown the home one how it’s done, with loyal and constant cajoling from the stands.
In recent years, the marvellous Gary Johnson has ushered in better times and brought much needed belief back to our club. But almost as if scarred by years of under-achievement, the Pop has struggled to find it’s voice when the team have been under-performing. As often as Plainmoor has been a plus for the team, on bad days it had also become a fractious negative that’s fed into the hesitance of the Gulls players.
But 21-22 has evolved into something different. Weymouth away on the 4th December feels like a pivotal day in the yellow army properly reclaiming their voices. That game saw a big YA following joyfully sing, chant and then sing some more throughout. The team did perform better, but whatever happened during the game there was a real feeling of remaining staunchly behind Asa Hall and his team mates, remaining positive and being the 12th man. It made for a fantastic occasion after a grim start to the season.
Clearly buoyed by this 90 minutes of joy and vocal dexterity, the Popside buzzed merrily against Stockport the following Saturday. There was a real togetherness and push to be the difference, to do what they could whatever was going on in front of them. On a cold December day the atmosphere was bloody great and was matched by a Yellows team digging out a tremendous win. An afternoon that reminded you of why the old place can still be special.
Since then, this boisterous and tuneful roar has become a common occurrence, with the middle throng of the Pop standing to be counted at every home game, a noise not dependent on the quality of the United performance. The chants have become more varied and interesting, thankfully not falling back on the repetitive ‘Yellow Army, Yellow Army’ serenade anymore. The drummer has helped set the tempo and a tribal mentality has set in amongst these youngsters who could so easily have stayed on their sofas.
I may not be part of this, being a season ticket holder in Bristow’s (I’ve always say down at Plainmoor due to attending games with my dad, who never fancied standing up!), but I am loving this effort and bounce from the other side of the ground. On Tuesday night when both teams cancelled each other out and action was limited, the Pop kept doing what they do best. A constant voice of positive spirit and banter in a game of very few chances – something to warm our cockles on a competitive but ultimately fruitless night of National League football.
These supporters are the future of our fanbase, they can create a fun environment and bubbling energy that others want to be involved in – something that will hopefully prompt more to follow them through the creaky gates. Bravo to all involved in this brilliant effort – we’ll never be in this for the glory, however this is our club and we’re at our best backing the team and pushing together. Great stuff.
Who needs f##king Sweet Caroline when you’ve got the Pop in fine voice? Not me.
COYY – Dom
GARY JOHNSON – “I’ve always said that our crowd are football people, and they know when our lads need an atmosphere to keep them going”
PROUD AWAY SPONSOR OF KLAIDI LOLOS